Spain's Canary Islands have long been popular with UK holidaymakers for bargain package deals and year-round sunshine (and who can argue with that?), but as Canary regulars know, there's so much more to this little archipelago than convenience. Tenerife, the largest of the seven main islands, was the most visited in 2017. Well-known for its unique volcanic landscape, endless beaches and family-friendly resorts, there's also plenty of opportunity for the most luxurious of holidays, as I found when I visited for the first time this year.
Tenerife's dramatic dark-sand beaches and rocky landscape
With a flight-time of just over four hours from London, Tenerife is the ideal choice for an easy, sunny break – Costa Adeje, a mere ten-minute taxi ride from the airport, is the perfect location for the most hassle-free of holidays. Opt for one of the island's newly-refurbished hotels and get the luxury of long-haul resorts without the hefty journey (or the time difference – Tenerife is on UK time). I split my stay between two of Iberostar's newest spots on the island: starting off with the recently renovated Anthelia hotel.
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Though modernised in 2017, Anthelia retains its classic, welcoming feel – greenery lines every pathway and corridor, the grounds are immaculate and the staff are endlessly friendly. A family-orientated hotel, there are three pools to choose from in the main resort, as well as five restaurants (with some of the best all-inclusive food I've ever tried, might I add) and the extraordinary dark sand of Fañabé beach right on the doorstep.
One of Anthelia's sea-view rooms
If a more grown-up holiday is what you're after, Anthelia also houses the Iberostar Grand Salomé hotel, an adults-only retreat with white-washed rooms, stunning sea-view restaurants and a chilled-out pool area overlooking the ocean. While away an afternoon on a sunlounger before taking a stroll along the beachfront - easily accessible from the hotel - or wander five minutes outside to the luxury shopping centre nearby, where you can splurge on anything from Gucci to Valentino.
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Just a 40-minute drive away from Costa Adeje is the island's spectacular national park, Teide, where you'll also find Spain's highest point in the 3,718 metre-high Mount Teide volcano. It's worth spending a day walking around the unique landscape, where you'll find craters, vents and lava flow formations along your way - you can get a cable car to within 500 metres of the summit, too, where on a clear day you'll see most of the other Canary Islands. Arrange a day trip with a tour operator, or hire a car from just £13 a day for that extra slice of freedom.
Teide National Park
After spending two nights enjoying the incredible food (don't miss the Canarian potatoes with mojo sauce, or the tuna tataki), newly-built spa facilities and Atlantic Ocean views of Anthelia, we moved on to Iberostar's equally-impressive Sábila hotel, which only re-opened this year after a complete renovation. Offering a completely different experience, Sábila is the ultimate in grown-up luxury. This child-free retreat is a worthwhile choice for foodies - most notably in the hotel's incredible 'Gourmet Market', where you will find all the flavours of international street food in one place: with everything from tapas to sushi, dim sum and fresh sea food. Make sure you dine outside, where you'll be perfectly placed for sunset-spotting, too.
Sábila's bedrooms have ultra-calming, minimal decor
Sábila is equally as convenient in proximity to the beach as Anthelia, and those wanting to stretch their legs can also take a stroll to the nearby marina at Puerto Colón, where whale and dolphin-watching trips can also be arranged. Or, for zero cost, a wander along the harbour wall is a great way to take in the island's dramatic scenery. Look back to see the postcard-worthy mountain backdrop, or ahead to ocean blues, where you can just make out second-smallest Canary Island La Gomera in the distance.
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For the ultimate taste of luxury on Tenerife, Sábila's Star Prestige club is a surefire way to feel instantly swanky. Allowing you access to the exclusive top two floors of the hotel, the real surprise is on the rooftop - where a private, sky-high pool with the most exquisite of sea views awaits. Other inclusive details, such as a health-conscious snack bar and unlimited drinks, make the stay all the more satisfying.
Sábila's incredible Star Prestige rooftop pool
All indulgence aside - despite spending just four nights on this ever-surprising island, it felt like a week's break at least. And with flights at around £300 return in high-season - though book early to bag even better deals - I'll take long-haul luxury, without the jet lag, any day.
A garden view double room at Iberostar Anthelia starts at €252/£223.91; standard double rooms at Iberostar Sábila start at €169/£150.70 - as of July 2018.